Great Scot Masters Federer

BRITAIN’S Andy Murray boosted his hopes of finally breaking his Grand Slam duck at the US Open by successfully defending the Rogers Cup last night.

Murray beat Roger Federer 7-5, 7-5 in Toronto to become the first man to win the Canadian Masters series event in successive years since Andre Agassi in 1995.

The Scot’s victory constituted a stern test of character after rainfall twice delayed the conclusion of the match during the second set.

But Murray eventually prevailed against the 16-time Grand Slam winner, proving that he has not suffered from dispensing with coach Miles Maclagan last month.

Murray started superbly, taking 12 of the first 16 points to open a 3-0 lead but Federer broke back when he double faulted when serving for the set at 5-4. Undeterred, and with a tie-break looking likely, Murray broke straight back and served out to nail down the set. The second set was only three games old when rain came and disrupted play for almost an hour, but Murray showed mental strength to hold serve. Another delay soon came, however, and Federer returned reinvigorated. Yet Murray showed resolve to hold on and broke at 5-5 before finishing off the Swiss great.

“It was obviously very difficult for both of us,” said Murray. “Closing a match out against Roger is difficult, but with rain delays you have more time to think about it.”

The world No4 beat Rafael Nadal, who tops the rankings, in the semi-finals, and is only the fifth man to beat both the Spaniard and Federer in the same event. Murray’s assertive performances in Toronto make him an even hotter tip for the US Open, which gets underway at Flushing Meadows on 30 August. The 23-year-old, who now has five Masters titles to his name, has struggled for consistency this year and was without a tournament win until last night.